Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) By all neighborhood accounts, the Pattee Creek Market over the past few years has grown tired and outdated, and it came to offer something of a cluttered shopping experience.

But that's changing.

Timothy and Elizabeth Hines purchased the business and closed on the property in mid-October. Since then, they've been working toward what Timothy described as a total reset of an established Missoula business.

“The Pattee Creek Market is an established business in the community,” he said. “It's really to continue that legacy of the Pattee Creek Market of what it was 15 or 20 years ago. Really, it's to continue the legacy and to serve the community.”

The market, located on 39th Street at the base of the South Hills, sits surrounded by a residential neighborhood with a wide range of incomes, from subsidized housing to mansion heights and everything in between.

When choosing to purchase the business, Timothy considered those residents and “what would happen if the market were to close.” They're now investing in the businesses' reestablishment as a local market stocked with local products, including the meat.

The couple recently moved to Montana to help Elizabeth's father on his Potomac farm. Farm to table produce and meats is part of the equation.

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“It's carrying the local products and bringing some of that economy back to Missoula,” said Timothy. “We want to be the meat-shop destination. We custom cut. We can do things from order. We want to be the destination for fresh seafood, and have that deli and all those specialty items.”

The market's reset so far includes a wide variety of artisan beers, a wide selection of wine and a growing produce department. It will also include more than 100 bins of bulk items, from granola to candy, once the process plays out.

For Timothy, who has worked most of this life in the grocery business, the work also includes a better customer experience. That comes by organizing a store so products are easier to find.

“It's been a little cluttered and dirty. We want it to have that more open feel,” he said. “The reset coincides with having a better shopping experience, putting categories in order so you're not running from one side of the store for pasta sauce and going to the other side of the store for your internationals.”

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The grocery business in Missoula has undergone a number of changes over the last decade. Safeway became Albertsons. The owners of the Fresh Market entered the scene and recently sold one store to Yolks.

Lucky's Market also opened in 2018 at Southgate Mall but closed two years later after Kroger divested its stake in the business. Shortly after, Winco opened nearby, filling the space once occupied by Shopko.

The new owners of the Pattee Creek Market are working to stand out by providing quality, local products and investing in the community.

“We're locally owned and operated. We put our heart and sole in there,” said Elizabeth. “Quality is important. It's good, quality stuff. You know what you're getting and you know where it's coming from.”